Rating 5 stars
Where the Wild Ladies Are, Matsuda Aoko’s collection of short stories, translated into English by Polly Barton, is a reimagining of different traditional Japanese folk tales as told in kabuki plays and the comedic tradition of rakugo. Matsuda introduces a feminist slant to the stories, which I enjoyed.
February is six days old, and here’s the first Saturday of the month and Six Degrees of Separation. Check out the meme hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best if you want to join in. This month, in a return to normal things, we’re starting with a book I haven’t read, Anne Tyler’s Redhead by the Side of the Road.
It has been a while since I last did a Six Degrees chain. Life got a lot busy over the summer, and I haven’t been reading as many books as usual, never mind keeping up with my fellow bloggers. But here I am, only five days late (what do you mean, more like four months late?), and to celebrate, I’m going to do things properly this time, and not count the first book in the chain as part of my six. Hooray!
The Outsiders by S E Hinton is the start of this month’s Six Degrees book chain. I’ve never read it or seen the film, so let’s see where I end up. Continue reading
Rating: 5 stars
I love Sara Pascoe. I think she’s one of the funniest people working in comedy. I follow her on Twitter. I love her on QI and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order. I’m going to see her live for the first time in October.
I borrowed her book Animal from the library after I saw a quote from it Tweeted by Pascoe, which I’ll talk about later. I thought it was going to be a straightforward memoir of Pascoe’s life and adventures as a funny feminist woman in the male centric world of British comedy. It is, in a way, but it’s also so much more than that. Continue reading
The Tipping Point is the lead book for June’s Six Degrees, hosted at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It’s not a book that I’ve heard of, let alone read. So which way will my book chain go? Continue reading
Rating: 3 stars
This book is wondrously eclectic.
I like Amy Poehler. Or rather, I like Amy Poehler’s performance as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation. That’s the only thing I’ve seen her in. I like her in that enough to have bought her autobiography.
When it came up as my next read in The Reader’s Room Winter Challenge, I cheered. Out loud. The house was empty but for me and the cat, so it was okay. I cheered because it had been a bewilderingly frightening weekend of watching and reading the news coming out of America, and I needed a book that would lift my spirits. Continue reading
Rating: 4 stars
Watch out, because this is a long one. Gumption has fed my brain and I’ve had lots of thoughts as a result. I’ll start with this one: O, Nick Offerman, how I love your drollness.
There are so many great things in this book. I didn’t agree with all of Offerman’s opinions, but I agreed with and enjoyed the majority. He talks sense but he doesn’t preach. He entertains but he doesn’t diminish the seriousness of what he’s saying.
Offerman appears in one of my favourite TV shows of recent years, Parks and Recreation. He plays Ron Swanson, a small c conservative man with a deep love for the outdoors, manual labour and meat. He’s everything I shouldn’t love, but he’s a joy.
Offerman shares many of Ron’s characteristics, except he is more free in the expression of his sense of humour and far less conservative. In this book, Offerman takes a look at the lives of significant figures in American culture and explains why they mean what they do to him. It covers politics, art, slow living, responsibility to the planet, to animals and to other human beings, and provides insights into Offerman’s own philosophy of life. It’s both interesting and funny. Continue reading
Rating: 3 stars
For such a short novel, Austen packed a lot into Lady Susan. I saw this year’s film adaptation of it, Love & Friendship, so knew what the crux of the story was. Although I really liked the film, and thought Kate Beckinsale was great in the role of Lady Susan, I found the book different to the adaptation in a number of ways, and preferred the book. Continue reading
Rating: 3 stars
Read for The Reader’s Room Olympic Challenge
I like short stories. In the right hands, they are mini masterpieces, giving you just enough to feel satisfied but not outstaying their welcome. Some short stories give the impression that they want to be something more, but the author has run out of steam. My favourite short story writers are Margaret Atwood, who has the best grasp of the form, and Haruki Murakami, who offers up interrupted insights into his ongoing world, like snatches of conversation overheard on the bus.
Other Carnivals is a collection of a dozen short stories put together to coincide with a South American literary festival in 2013. Some of the stories are better than others, but as an introduction to Brazilian writers, it works well. I’ll certainly be looking for more by Tatiana Salem Levy, Adriana Lisboa and Bernardo Carvalho. Continue reading
Rating: 4 stars
I’ve been waiting to read this book since it was shortlisted for the Bailey’s prize. The review on The Reader’s Room gave me pause, but when it came back into my local library a couple of weeks ago, I brought it home. I was reassured by the review on Words and Leaves. It didn’t disappoint. Continue reading